I just watched the Denver Nuggets win their 12th straight game. Denver reserve point guard, Andre Miller, celebrated his 37th birthday by scoring 20 points while dishing out 9 assists and collecting 7 rebounds. I prefer to listen to the local announcers (Scott Hastings and Chris Marlowe) versus the national announcers (who give too much love to the NBA superstars), and I love the YMCA-related quotes about Andre Miller that Hastings started: “the Andre Miller YMCA layup of the night” and “back in Denver, they must be going nuts at the YMCA”.
You see, Miller doesn’t have rim-rattling dunks…or deadly 3-pt accuracy…or blinding speed to go along with a sleight-of-hand crossover dribble. Yet Miller puts on a clinic against players 15 years younger than him every time he steps on a basketball court – just like the old guy at the YMCA who can barely jump or run while wearing two knee braces.
Let’s kick it “old school” with Andre Miller! See how you can apply his formula for success, and YMCA Your Competition…
1. Be a Student of the Game
You do not stay in the NBA for 13 years without learning a few tricks along the way. Nuggets’ coach George Karl has repeatedly praised Miller as a “coach on the court”. He understands player tendencies and the flow of the game. He knows how to setup plays against different defenses and opponents, when to run the court, and when to settle his teammates when they start playing out of control or with a lack of confidence.
Life Lesson: NBA players do film study and learn from experience. We should always be reading, experimenting, and observing to keep “our game” relevant and productive. Learn from the experts in the industry, and then try to break down a few barriers with innovative thinking.
2. Win with Fundamentals
Andre can drive to the basket and do layups with either hand. He can post-up smaller defenders, or he can blow past a defender by spinning in either direction. He is a career 81% free throw shooter, so you can’t afford to send him to the line to make free throws because he doesn’t crack under pressure. He can bounce pass, or he can make the perfect alley-oop pass.
Life Lesson: Fundamentals never go out of style. Cultivate a strong work ethic, become a master of time and priority management, curb criticism while promoting through praise, and always double-check your work. Follow the carpenter adage: Measure twice, cut once!
3. Get Other Players Involved
Andre Miller has averaged over 7 assists per game for his career. The Denver Nuggets are 3rd in the league in assists, and that statistic is a strong reason why they are also 3rd in the league in scoring – because they do it without a superstar. The Nuggets usually have 5-6 players scoring over 10 points each night where most teams have 2-3 players scoring over 10 points each night. Miller gets his assists by having remarkable court vision. He knows where all of his teammates are on the court, and he knows where they like to receive the basketball. He puts his teammates in the best positions to succeed within the flow of the game.
Life Lesson: Whether in business or personal life, know your teammates’/friends’/family members’ strengths and weaknesses. Then put them in the best possible position to succeed. When our teammates win, we all win.
4. Be an Iron Man
Andre Miller has only missed 6 games in a 13 year career. An NBA season is 82 games plus the playoffs, so he has only missed 6 games out of a possible 1,159 games! He trains to stay in shape, focuses on injury prevention, knows his limits – and is still willing to play hurt on occasion to help the team. He IS Mr. Reliable.
Life Lesson: Do what it takes to be Mr. Reliable! Work on your stamina, so teammates and competitors know you are “in it for the long haul”. Choose your words and actions wisely, so you avoid injuring your brand. On those occasions where your brand or feelings are injured, “suck it up”. Accept the injuries, and then take corrective action to rehabilitate relationships and your brand.
Andre Miller does not have a flashy career; however, he does have a successful career with longevity. His performance, one YMCA-move at a time, deserves Hall of Fame consideration.
Now, go YMCA Your Competition like Andre Miller – and may you have Hall of Fame success!!